The distraught mum of an 11-year-old boy who killed himself claims his girlfriend, 13, had pretended to kill herself in a social media prank.
Tysen Benz, from Michigan, died on Tuesday after his life support was switched off three weeks after he is believed to have tried to kill himself, The Sun reports.
His heartbroken mum Katrina Goss urged people to keep her son’s spirit alive by “fighting against social media bullying”.
She alleges that Tysen’s girlfriend used her and their friends’ social media accounts to convince him that she had killed herself before he took his own life.
Goss told the New York Post: “She did a prank that made it look like she killed herself and used other friends and their [social media] accounts to make it look like she killed herself.
“So, he believed her and said, ‘I’m going to kill myself.'”
The Post reports that a juvenile has been charged with malicious use of a telecommunications device and using a computer to commit a crime by Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office.
Tysen was put on a life support machine after attempting to take his own life on March 14 in Michigan, and died in hospital three weeks later.
A Go Fund Me fundraising page set up to pay for the family’s medical bills has already raised more than US$37,500.
His mother describes Tysen on the page as an “athlete, comedian, friend, brother, charismatic and all around amazing child”.
Goss, from Marquette, wrote: “On Tuesday March 14th he (Tysen) impulsively chose to end his own life as a result of a horrific act of a social media prank which is under investigation by authorities.
“He clung on with the help of life support until Tuesday April 4.
“He has now been set free and can rest in peace.
“He was loved by everyone he knew and he will absolutely never be forgotten.
“Our family is completely heartbroken.
“I urge families to speak out, reach out and communicate with your children about life’s precious gift and the dangers of the internet and texting and how telecommunications can have the same effects as speaking face-to-face.
“I want Tysen to be remembered as he was and all the joy he’s brought to everyone.
“Keep his spirit alive by standing strong and fighting against social media bullying.”
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